Jay Johnstone Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: November 20, 1946 in Manchester, Connecticut
Player Career
Bat: Left Throw: Right Height: 6' 1" Weight: 175
First Game: July 30, 1966 ; Final Game: October 6, 1985
Awards and Achievements
Bats both in 1966
Biography | show moreshow less
Jay Johnstone
This article was written by Rory Costello and is presented in part, courtesy of the Society for American Baseball Research
The flake – "an odd or eccentric player; a kidder or comic"[1] – is an all-but-vanished species in major-league baseball these days. In 2003, writer Dave Joseph lamented, "Sadly, there are fewer creative thinkers these days in baseball. There are fewer flakes, if you will, who break up the monotony of an endless season played, for the most part, by robotic athletes afraid to express opinion or originality."[2]

Outfielder Jay Johnstone was one of the premier flakes in big-league history. As Dave Joseph added, a bunch of tattoos doesn't fill the bill. "You need talent. You need smarts. You need to have a mind of your own and give something to the game." Johnstone qualified on all counts. He was good enough to play 15 full seasons in the majors and parts of five others from 1966 to 1985. He was largely a platoon and role player, starting over 100 games in only three of those years – but he had a solid lefty bat, providing 102 career home runs and a .267 batting average.

He was also one of the game's craftiest pranksters and better storytellers, as he recounted in three entertaining books. His gags were innumerable, but among the best was trapping Tommy Lasorda (whom he liked to impersonate by padding himself with pillows) in the manager's room at Dodgertown by tying his doorknob to a tree and stealing the mouthpiece from his telephone. Johnstone's maxim was never to hang around to see the results of a prank, because that gives you away as the perpetrator. It's even better to frame someone else, as he did by surreptitiously wiping chocolate on Jerry Reuss's pants leg after sticking a gooey chocolate brownie in Steve Garvey's glove. "In perhaps his greatest stunt, he slipped into the team's Dodgertown clubhouse with carpenter's tools and cut Ron Cey's locker down to penguin size, putting a tiny stool in front of it."[3]

Film Credits | show moreshow less

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